The Carrot Ranch Rough Writers and Friends January 12 writing prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that expresses a strong concern, something to give a crap about.
“Thank God they’re axing that Obamacare. Goddamn libtards.”
Jane stuffs her biology notes in her bag.
“Why does it bother you that people have health care? In the richest country on earth?”
“I don’t want my taxes paying for their bullshit. This is America.”
Jane smiles. “Huh. I don’t mind my taxes paying for your health care.”
The man scowls and turns to the window. The woman beside him nods knowingly.
The bus lurches and stops. Jane gets up with a parting shot: “Not sure how you can give a crap about America without giving a crap about Americans.”
Yes, I am one of those goddamn libtards. If you don’t like goddamn libtards, you might want to stop reading now (although I take it as a good sign if you’re still here, and thank you!).
It flummoxes me that people who claim to care about how “great” America is do not give a single shit about other Americans. Not all of us can have jobs that give health insurance at all, let alone affordable insurance. If you’ve ever shopped for health insurance without benefit of an employer who provides it, you’d know the premiums are outrageously expensive, for the individual as well as for the employer who’d like to include it as a benefit.
I work, and I work hard. But for many years I worked for sole practitioner attorneys, where the cost of providing insurance for me was prohibitive. The last time I sought quotes for my own insurance, the lowest I got was $650 a month. I was 40 years old and in perfect health, but crappy insurance with no prescription or dental plan still wanted almost half of my take-home pay before my $2,500 deductible was paid and it actually started helping me. So please, tell me how I’m supposed to pay for that, and still pay for a roof over my head, food, transportation to and from that job so I can earn that income in the first place, and so on. I’m waiting.
These last few years I have finally had insurance I could afford under the ACA (which is the same thing as Obamacare, for those living under a rock), and I’ve been so grateful to have it. I was never so grateful as a couple of months ago when my plan “covered” a screening colonoscopy, which found the very early stages of cancer. Would I have had that procedure without insurance? I can guarantee I would not have. And if not, how long before I had symptoms that made me miserable enough to pay out-of-pocket for a doctor visit, and discovered cancer at a more advanced and expensive stage?
The ridiculous cost of insurance is not the only thing to blame. Health care services and prescriptions are ridiculously high in this country. No, I’m not an expert on it, but when insurance companies are permitted to set costs for services and medications that are significantly higher than in other wealthy countries with comparable health care, and when providers and drug companies set their prices based on what insurance you have so they can get more for it, you know it’s a racket. (Pro tip: if there’s a lobbyist around, there’s a racket.) For example, in the U.S., an appendectomy typically costs around $30,000; in the U.K., it’s about $3,500. The drug Copaxone, used to treat M.S., costs around $3,050 per month in the U.S. compared to about $850 in Britain. (You will notice I picked medical conditions that can’t be blamed on the patient, as opposed to treatments for addiction or childbirth, for which I’ve heard it said, “Then they shouldn’t have babies/get addicted/eat crappy food that gives them high cholesterol.”)
I’m not asking to get everything for free. I don’t mind paying reasonable costs for health care, and I’m 100% for preventive measures that keep overall costs down. I said my procedure was “covered” because I’m still left with about $1,200 to pay after insurance. I’m still paying a hell of a lot less for my cancer scare than I’d be paying for full-on cancer treatment with surgeries and radiation and chemotherapy and gods only know what else, not to mention the lost income, further damage to my health, and that whole risk of dying thing. I’m grateful.
More importantly, I don’t mind paying higher taxes so that everyone can have health care. I’d say I don’t get why people are willing to pay a certain amount for their own, but aren’t willing to pay that same amount, or even less, so everyone can have what they have. But sadly, I do get it. It’s selfishness. That’s all.
And maybe I’m oversimplifying things, but I think health care should be about care and not about greed, and that the American government should be about taking care of the American people.
Me and my silly fantasy world.